Car sales in the UK were last year comfortably above two million for the first time since 1990. More of these cars came from overseas, though – UK production was down from 1.6 million in 1996 to fewer than 1.5 million units.
Ford, GM and BMW/Rover each saw their UK market share cut while imports from VW, Renault, and Japanese makers rose.
While Ford remained market leader, Japanese imports edged ahead of GM and BMW/Rover for the first time, with 14.4% to GM’s 13.6% and BMW/Rover’s 12.9%.
Japan and Korea continued to make headway in Europe. VW remained market leader, with a static 17.2% share.
The maturity, or saturation, of the European market is illustrated by car ownership figures. Germany and Italy have more cars per 1,000 population than the US, with Britain and France not far behind.
Government figures for mining and quarrying and manufacturing activity in Wales and the UK dramatically show the relative decline of mining in Wales over the past 10 years. Manufacturing in Wales has risen faster than the trend rate of growth for the UK since 1994, though it showed a decline in the third quarter of 1997.